The 'New Hub' has arrived thanks to COVID-inspired remote work trend – Islander

Mainly clear. Low 74F. Winds ENE at 10 to 15 mph..
Mainly clear. Low 74F. Winds ENE at 10 to 15 mph.
Updated: December 12, 2021 @ 6:02 pm
Much daily living focuses on routine demands of the here and now.  When we allow ourselves to engage in mental time travel, many of us automatically navigate to the past, recalling former times spent with family and friends.  But Key resident Jim Lane travels in the opposite direction.  He spends his time contemplating the future, pondering where current trends may lead.  He mostly likes what he sees.
“Years ago, Silicon Valley was the hub of the software age, Detroit the hub of the automobile age, Hollywood the hub of the movie age—now we are living in a new age.  Where is the new hub?” he asks, and then quickly answers.  “It’s everywhere!” 
Spurred on by the pandemic, remote work has become a viable option for many who were formerly tied to offices in densely populated urban areas.  With Zoom and other platforms, many office workers are discovering a new freedom to work from almost anywhere that has a reliable high speed internet connection.
This scenario is good news for those keeping an eye on local property values.  “The future is going to be about living in great places.  Work will flow to where the people are instead of people flowing to where the work is,” predicts Lane.
Lane’s roots are global.  He was born in Seattle, raised in Australia, and schooled at the University of Washington.  But he chose to settle down on the Key for the best reason of all: Love. 
In 1999, he was living in Chicago and working for the “Official Airline Guide,” a provider of flight information and analytics, when he attended a conference in Lancashire, England, that would turn his world upside down.  “That’s where I met Flavia,” he beams.
At that time, Flavia Marples was living in an apartment on the Key but spending much of her time traveling internationally.  “After chasing Flavia around the world for two years,” Lane explains, “I quit my job to be with her.  We were married in August 2001.”
Lane now operates a media company that specializes in alternative fuels and emerging technology.  From just a short time speaking with him, it is clear he is passionate about his work.
As Lane sees it, today’s world is a fast-moving frenzy of shiny technology and rapid innovation. that presents an abundance of opportunity.  “Right now, most everything—everywhere—is being re-invented.  Volvo, BMW, Burger King, Channel, Airbus, Adidas and others—every petroleum company, every utility, every food company, and every financier is striving to adopt the newest technology in an effort to become more efficient.  We are experiencing an explosion of buying and re-inventing the likes of which the world has never seen before.”
According to Lane, “We are currently experiencing five separate revolutions: genetics, robotics, bandwidth, artificial intelligence, and data storage.”  Biotechnology is one area that particularly excites him. “Today we can program cells the way we used to program computers.  We literally type in a code on a desktop and it is programmed into an organism.” 
This rapid innovation is taking place at a time when many people are working remotely, physically distanced from their collaborators.  In order to stay healthy and engaged, remote workers benefit from public spaces where they can meet, interact, and share ideas in person.  Cross-pollination is at the root of many great innovations.
Lane offers a suggestion for newcomers to the Key.  “Get engaged.  Build a network of friends and coworkers.  The future is about great places to live.  The future will find us; while it won’t be perfect, we may all be surprised at how great it can be.”  
Lane’s advice is valuable.  By welcoming newcomers and getting to know our neighbors, each of us can contribute to a more vibrant Island Paradise— one where we nurture each other and ideas thrive.